“We answer to the common person,” Lolo tells cabinet
“We don’t just answer to lawmakers, but also to the common person,” said Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga, who has made it a task for the government to help a family in Leone which has repeatedly sought assistance from the government since 2010 for help from the “Small Village Fund” for a bridge.
The governor conducted a site visit on Tuesday with officials of the Department of Public Works upon receiving a letter from a member of this family. The letter was sent to the Governor September 26, 2013 and five days later the governor conducted his site visit and saw firsthand the makeshift bridge — stating that it’s “heart breaking.”
During the cabinet meeting held yesterday, the governor appealed to his Cabinet members that if anyone seeks their help, to please lend a helping hand, “even if it’s not within your capacity.”
Lolo stated that while other families are living in the 21st Century this Leone family is struggling on a daily basis to cross to and from their home. The governor presented the letter and pictures and asked the Directors to view the photos from this family that is in dire need of assistance from the government.
He further told the Directors to get out of their comfort zone and help anyone who seeks their assistance. “We don’t just respond to lawmakers, we respond to the small people, those are the people that we are here to serve.”
Lolo then pointed out that he was told that this project will cost $20,000 to $30,000 and should be underway within 30 days.
The governor explained the stream this family crosses every morning is 14-feet wide and 10-12 feet deep.
According to the letter which is signed by Masunu Leala Jr, their family had sought assistance from the previous administration since 2010, where they specifically sought funding from small village funds to construct a bridge, however their requests fell on deaf ears.
The letter notes the current makeshift “bridge” is made of long metal tracts that are used to transfer freight containers, with wooden pallets placed on it so people can crossover.
“The stream however gets really rough during rainy days, creating an unsafe environment for all to cross and since January 2010, myself and my wife tried to seek for assistance from the previous administration during Togiola and Faoa, in which that Administration failed to give heed to our plea for help,” Leala explains.
He pointed out in his letter that he was referred to the office of Samoan Affairs “where we were told to wait for the availability of funding.”
“As we reached January of 2011, we kept going to the Samoan Affairs Office to seek for the Small Fund program but we were told to wait. This went on for the whole year of 2011 and then 2012.”
Leala said in his letter to the governor that finally in September 2012 he was contacted by the Samoan Affairs that their office could not provide funding from the Small Village fund. The reason he was given was “due to insufficient funds” and “the money went to commemorate the new Fale Samoa situated in Utulei Village.”
Leala then appealed to the new governor and his administration for assistance.
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